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Gainesville family says faith helped heal their 3-year-old son

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He looks like your usual, strong little boy, but when Jeremiah Swanigan lifts his shirt you can see his story.

It's a story that dates back to 2013, when the Swanigans were still living in Alabama and Jeremiah was still in his mama's belly.

“The Lord put it on my heart to come to Gainesville so I went to tell my wife, and my wife was packing up," Kendrick Swanigan said. I’m like what are you doing? and she said" ... "I had the feeling we were going to move," his wife, Erin responded.

It was a good thing they did. They didn't live near a major hospital in Alabama, like they do now in Gainesville. Jeremiah arrived prematurely, so quickly the ambulance didn't make it out of their Gainesville apartment complex.

“I see them jump out of the front seat, go to the back and open the door, and there’s a baby! I said no! They said its going to be alight and I said get it to a doctor!”

With a seemingly-healthy baby in their arms at UF-Shands Hospital, Kendrick said he had a random urge to pray before he and his wife went to sleep.

“I just started praying, I said, 'Lord his heart, protect his heart.' That night we went to sleep and woke up and our son was gone.”

Kendrick said the staff found Jeremiah blue: His heart was under-developed and needed surgery.

"When they came and told me all these things I was like you can’t be talking about my son, he was just healthy," Erin said. "Two days I was praying in the chapel and asked god to help us, we want a miracle to take place. So that night I went to sleep and heard the voice of God as I woke up and he says he’s going to make a full recovery.”

The Swanigans did anything they could. They fasted, anointed him with oil and prayed constantly.

"And next thing you know he was getting strong! They were taking tubes out of his body and they said, OK, this is not normal.”

Fast forward a year and Jeremiah was on the road to recovery, with one major obstacle.

"He couldn’t really walk. They said he was hitch-crawling - one leg on the ground and one leg in the air," Kendrick said.

But again, the Swanigans believed God could perform a miracle.

"The lord said speak to his legs, muscles, tendons, tell him to rise and walk. I said Jeremiah i speak to your legs, muscles tendons, in the name of Jesus, get up and walk...he looked at me, he stood up and started walking."

Through three years of surgeries, Jeremiah and his family have stood strong.

"Was it easy for us? no. Did we cry? Yes we did. was it lonely? Yes it was. But he's here he's strong, he's walking, he has one more surgery. but we're okay because we know he's going to make it through this."

The Swanigans say Jeremiah's last surgery is set for February. The surgery will fix his heart to keep up with his energetic spirit, his family said.


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